Brad Wanamaker is chasing his NBA dream in the NBA Developmental League, but the former Pitt guard still managed to keep tabs on his old team this past season. And his reaction was like a lot of others who follow Pitt basketball.
“I was surprised, too,” Wanamaker said Tuesday afternoon, three days after helping the Austin Toros win the D-League championship. “But they had a lot of young guys. As the season went on it looked like they were trying to find their identity. It was a tough season for coach Dixon and the players.”
Pitt missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001 and finished 5-13 in Big East play after winning the regular-season championship in 2011.
Wanamaker and many other former players will return to Pitt to train for a few weeks this summer. While they’re training, they will mentor Pitt’s current players. It’s become a tradition for former Panthers to return every summer, and it’s one of Jamie Dixon’s proudest accomplishments.
When Dixon took over as head coach in 2003 former players didn’t come around very often. Now dozens of former players make their way back to campus every summer.
“Guys did it before me,” Wanamaker said. “Levance Fields is a guy I look up to. We kept in contact throughout the season. He did the same thing for Tray Woodall. He’s a guy we all look up to.
“I only feel like it’s right for me to pass on my knowledge to the younger guys.”
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